Shackleton squares up to Manches’ Ward on Madonna divorce

Shackleton squares up to Manches' Ward on Madonna divorceThe battle for the assets from Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s marriage is to be fought out by heavyweight family lawyers Helen Ward of Manches and Fiona Shackleton of Payne Hicks Beach.

Ward, who set the benchmark for the largest divorce settlement when she secured £48m for Beverly Charman in her split from husband John Charman (, 24 May 2007), has been instructed by film director Ritchie.

Madonna was immediately linked with Fiona Shackleton, who this year represented Paul McCartney in his high-profile divorce from Heather Mills.

It is thought that between them Madonna and Ritchie share a fortune of £300m and any settlement would dwarf that of Charman. The couple announced their split earlier this week, ending months of speculation.

The case could turn recent legal history on its head with the female party worth substantially more than the male. Since 2000 family lawyers representing women have pushed the boundary of the law to secure larger settlements for their clients.

In Miller v Miller, Mrs Miller received around 15 per cent of her ex-husband’s assets – £5m – after five years’ of marriage. The settlement was 22 per cent lower than in the Charman case.